Courts of New Zealand

A website supported by the Ministry of Justice on behalf of the judiciary.

This site has three tabs to help you find what you're looking for:

* About Courts
History, How Case Come to Court, Legislation, Case Summaries, Transcripts, Decisions of Public Interest, Role & Structure, The Supreme Court Complex, Current & Former Chief Justices, Judicial Support & Appointments, Communicating with Judges, Complaints

- Court System: The courts are one of the three branches of government, working alongside but independently of the Legislature (Parliament) and the Executive (Cabinet and Ministers outside Cabinet plus government departments).

- The Judges: The Chief Justice is described in the Judicature Act as the head of the New Zealand Judiciary. The Chief Justice presides in the Supreme Court and has administrative responsibilities for that court and, through the Chief High Court Judge, for the High Court.

- Supreme Court: The Supreme Court is New Zealand's final court of appeal.

- High Court: The High Court was established in December 1841 and was known until 1980 as the Supreme Court. The court had the functions of the English common law and equity superior courts, and it had jurisdiction in criminal trials, testamentary disputes, questions of lunacy and admiralty matters. The court also exercised general supervision over lower courts and tribunals and was the court of appeal for the magistrates courts.

- Court of Appeal: The Court of Appeal has existed since 1862. Before its establishment, appeals from the then Supreme Court (now the High Court) were taken to the Privy Council in London. In 1957 the permanent Court of Appeal was established in Wellington with specifically appointed Court of Appeal judges.

- District Court: The New Zealand District Courts have general jurisdiction for jury trials (where the maximum sentence is less than life imprisonment), all summary criminal matters and civil actions up to a value of $200,000. The Family and Youth Courts are divisions of the District Court.

- Visitor Center: Information to those planning to visit courts in New Zealand and information for students studying the New Zealand courts.

* Court Business
- Calendar
- Case Summaries
- Guidelines
- High Court Lists
- Practice Directions
- Temporary Closure Courts
- Criminal Procedure Act

* From the Courts
- provides news from the Higher Courts, including decisions of public interest

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Guide ID: 3144 - Last Updated: August 21, 2013